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Post chemo confusion and fatigue

crot1998
Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 2005

Hi there. My father has non small cell lung cancer and has just finished his second round of chemo Carbo/Taxol and will be starting cycle three next week. I am just really worried because when his blood cell counts go down, he barely gets out of bed, has to be fed and gets some confusion. This seems to resolve itself but I am wondering what other people's experience has been? How tired is tired, were there days that you just could not get out of bed? How long did this last for? My father is 67. The doctor knows all about this and he was dose reduced last time but I am wondering what others have to say. Any info. would be really appreciated.Thanks

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi again. I had nsclc, 3a, diagnosed inoperable/incurable, at age 67, and was treated with radiation and chemo (Cisplatin/Etoposide). I had radiation 5 days/week, with weekends off, for 11 weeks, and chemo every fourth week, consisting of one 6 1/2 hour day followed by two 1 1/2 hour days, for a total of three cycles. I was extremely fatigued and nauseous after the chemo treatments. And yes, many days I couldn't/wouldn't get out of bed. Mentally, I was often disoriented and confused. I also had times when I would forget, right in mid-sentence, what I had started to say. I found that so discouraging that I just stopped trying to talk. I expressed my concerns about that to my doctor, and she told me that it was quite common, and that it actually had a name. It is called "Chemo Brain". It did go away after chemo stopped. It is alarming, but it is temporary. I had little or no appetite, during treatments, and had to be almost force-fed at times by my wife. Due to radiation damage to my esophagus, I was hospitalized twice, for a total of three weeks because I was unable to swallow. That resulted in malnutrition and dehydration. Intravenous nutritional therapy got me through that problem. I also suffered a paralyzed vocal chord, from radiation, which was corrected by surgical procedure. From May, '01, through October, '01, I lost about 45 pounds. After surgery in October, '01, I slowly regained the lost weight (plus). I'm over four years out from surgery, cancer free, with no serious lasting effects from my illness.

domino216
Posts: 13
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi, I am amazed at your progress you have made and the testamonies I have read from time to time. I know you saaid you were at a stage 3b. My husband is at stage iv with mets to liver that has had progression in the past three months since his CT's. His mass at the beginning had extended to his trachea and enveloped around but after radiation and treatments it managed to pull away. His liver mets went from barely 1 cm to 3cm now and the lung mass upper right has made progression again from 3cm to about 4-5cm and is extending over to trachea again. These tests were more progressed than ever before.That is why I am so concerned this time. He is so tired anymore. It just sounds to me that this could be the turning point for him but don't know if anyone has gone thru different chemos and still managed to respond and shrink again to stablize all areas again. I guess I want to know is this just buying him time or can he respond to another chem type and cause shrinkage again. I know everyone is different and responds differently. But after going from taxol/carb, gemzar/navelbine, alimta and now citsplasim/taxotere. I know with the clinical trials that taxotere has done well but alimta was also to. And then tarceva plays in there also. Are there new chemos out there that they are working on that sees a possibility and how far out till they become available and what are the names of some so I can research them out alittle. Thanks for listening. Elaine

crot1998
Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 2005

You truly are an inspiration to us all. You have no idea how comforting it is to hear about your experience. I have never heard of the term "chemo brain" but your description is so accurate. I will pass your message to my family members who share the same concerns as me.

crot1998
Posts: 67
Joined: Sep 2005

Sorry I forgot to say thank you for your help and speedy response.

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

If any thanks are due, it is for you allowing me, and others on this website, to offer our experiences for your consideration. It is, after all, just as therapeutic for us who are or have been there, as it is to those to whom we offer assistance. Ernie

8965
Posts: 34
Joined: Nov 2005

Greetings, my dad is also about to step into hes second round of chemo. It was hard to see him so weak, confused about his meds, ect. He needs help with everything now, going to the bathroom, opening things up, eating. I see it improving everyday, little by little. I did read that confusion is another side effect that subsides, when chemo is done. My prayers go out to your dad, and everyone else who crosses this path!

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